Monday, September 30, 2013


If you think you know all there is to know about writers and the way they think, think again. See how Barbara has used the difficulties of her past and present, to write the books she writes today.

1. Tell me a about yourself. What got you started in writing?
I had a rough childhood and started writing poems to deal with what was going on. It was my "happy place".

Image of Barbara McGreger
2. How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or do you prefer writing freehand?  I write either in my office or my back porch. I usually use a laptop, I occasionally make notes, etc. freehand before writing the story.
3. What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?

My favorite part is being inspired to write; my least favorite part is trying to find the right words to convey what I'm thinking.

4. How do you come up with your characters? Why would readers want to get to know them?
I don't really have characters. I usually am inspired to write "life lessons" from everyday things/animals, etc. I want the reader to understand that God can be seen active in our everyday surroundings!

5. What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?
All Social Media: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. I'm a speaker for Stonecroft Ministries as well as an independent speaker and bring books to sell when I speak.

6. How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?
My writing/devotional time is first thing every morning. I spend time studying the Bible, praying and from that come the stories. I also write through the day off and on as I can, as often as possible. It's my "passion".

7. What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?
I have just finished a Memoir entitled, "But Grace Prevailed" about the birth of my (special needs) son and our journey from birth until now. Hopefully it will be out by October 15.

8. Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.
Yes I do. I'm attempting to write a truth-based fiction novel based on my tumultuous childhood.

9. What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?
I would tell them to study all kinds of writing styles and to find their "sweet spot". I would encourage them to be true to themselves and not give up. We all have our different styles and to not try to be like everyone else! Don't give up! Self-publishing is easier and more affordable than ever. Explore all options!

To contact Barbara: 

Product DetailsProduct Details

Eleos Press:
Christian Women speakers: search for Barbara McGreger






Friday, September 27, 2013

What's Next for Me in the Writing World? UPDATE!

I was asked what was next for me the other day. As if I haven't been busy enough with my new book, The Feast, to be released Monday, September 30. (Update: Book was released by Amazon on September 26! Early, yes, but it's hard to predict these things!)

And yet, I understand the importance of the question.

Get the book at Amazon!
As a writer, you're just not writing, not just publishing, but you're continually thinking about what is coming up for you next. Sort of like that vacation that you've been planning for a few months or a year, you're thinking forward to the glorious day.

As so I'll tell you. I'm going to be having a fun and "pink" book release party on October 19 from 1-4. (If you live near me in Utah, send me a 'I'd like to come message' and I'll add you to my friend list). I can't plan on the weather being good, so it might be outside or inside, depending on the chill. But be assured that my new book will be here, and some luscious pink cupcakes and a strawberry slush (or something equally tempting). And you can be assured that there will be plenty of opportunity to visit.

After that...

I will be working on getting the word out about my new book AND I will be finishing the planning on my book, Marketing Your Book on a Budget, due out January 2014. Be prepared for some new and exciting additions! I am continually learning about what works for me and what doesn't when it comes to getting the word out and you will see new ideas in this book!

After that...yes, there will be a third book in the parable series. But I believe this will be the final one. My working title is The Gift. I have some ideas swirling in my brain but nothing is on paper--yet.

Oh yes, plan on me at the Simple Treasures show in November. And maybe somewhere else! I love selling my books at craft shows!
Last year's show was fantastic! This year's show will be November 6-9

That's it. I think.

What's next for you? I would love to hear.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Your Proof Copy

It's amazing what you'll find in a proof copy...

Stuff that's not centered
Stuff that's misspelled
Stuff that doesn't make sense (what was I thinking when I wrote that?)
Stuff that needs to be taken out as well as added
Covers that can be tweaked to look a bit better (we've been working a little bit more on the back cover)

(The front cover is exactly
where we want it...)

And yet, I love this part of getting a book ready for publication. I like that I can have one more look over, one more read, one more opportunity to get it slicked up for publication before you read it.

Yes, even then there will be things that I've (or some other editor has missed) but as long as the book is smooth reading, I'll be happy.


Well, I've been told that happens in the next life!

On to editing my proof...


Wednesday, September 25, 2013


For those of you not in the loop, this is my first aspiring author interview. I decided to focus on aspiring authors every Wednesday. Authors at all levels of learning have something to teach us. About writing and about life.

I'm pleased that Jennifer is my first aspiring author interview. Jennifer began as a teacher; today, she fills her time with short stories, non-fiction and poetry. Find out how trials in her life have helped her improve her writing.

How long have you been writing? Why did you decide to write?
I have always written poems and short stories throughout my life since I was a child.  I have notebooks full of poems and short stories that I wrote in. I enjoy researching information and learning new facts.  My official writing company, Rainbows of Happiness LLC, that I created began this summer after I left the teaching field. 
I decided to write because it's something I am passionate about.  Writing excites me like nothing else.  I've always kept a notebook next to my bed, should I get the urge to create a poem late at night.  Writing has helped me through some of the hardest times in my life.  By getting my thoughts out onto paper, I am able to release any pent up emotions.  For me, writing has always served as a type of therapy.  Some of my best pieces, I feel, come out of those tough times in my life.
What makes you keeping going?
I feel that one day I will come across an idea for a book that will be so fabulous, that I will finally be able to create a best-selling book!  That has always been my dream and I hope to make that dream a reality!
I also am lucky to have a strong support system in my husband, family, and friends.  Their constant encouragement to follow my passion fuels my desire to write.

What does your writing day look like? What do you do to study the craft?
I originally planned to write a few hours each day, but I've been known to work until midnight, longer than a regular job!  For me, each day is different.  Since I work from home, I'm constantly checking my smartphone for job updates, writing proposals for jobs I'm interested in, working on my own writing pieces that I want to copyright, checking emails, updating my blogs, writing articles for jobs I have, doing research, and improving my profiles on sites.

As a writer I am always learning.  I am probably among one of the last remaining pencil and paper authors out there.  I like to physically write everything out in front of me.  I had to play catch up in the world of technology when it came to writing.  A month ago I never would have thought I'd be creating blogs from scratch, or understand technological terms such as SEO, but now I have learned all these things and more!  If there is something I am unfamiliar with when it comes to technology and writing, I search the web and research that subject. I also read posts or articles from writers that have been in the field for awhile, and compare my writing with theirs to see how I can improve.  I've participated in Webinars that have been offered. Finally, I have a wonderful tech-savvy husband who is willing to find useful websites and send them to me!
Do you have a goal when you'd like to be published? What is it? If you don't have a goal, why haven't you set one?

I would ultimately love to be published in the next year.  I feel this first year is for networking, getting my blog up and running, and getting traffic to my sites so I can create a strong following. 
Are you thinking to go the self-published or traditional route?

I plan on self-publishing.  Nowadays with options such as using the Kindle Platform or promoting your book on Amazon, and LinkedIn available, more authors seem to be going the self-published route.  Not to mention more people seem to be downloading books from online sites such as Kindle or Amazon, as opposed to going to the book store and buying a physical book.
Tell us about the genre(s) you write and why you like them.
I write in several genres.  Poetry is my favorite because you can create poems about any issues on your mind at the moment.  I've written poems on everything from butterflies and dragonflies, to world issues such as homelessness.  Poetry, I find, is the most carefree genre because you can design and format your poem into the style that you want.  Poems don't have to rhyme, they can be short or lengthy, it is based on the author's discretion.

I also enjoy writing fiction and nonfiction.  When I write fiction, it is usually a story aimed at young children, having taught elementary school.  I  have created teen fiction mystery stories as well.  In the nonfiction genre I created several self-help books.  These topics range from ways to find happiness in the everyday, to a book on overcoming miscarriage by looking for signs.  People often try to make their own lives better, so I assumed that self-help books would be popular.
Why is The Little Engine That Could  your favorite book? What have you learned from it to help you to be a better writer?
Product Details
The Little Engine That Could is my favorite book because it talks about never giving up, even if something seems too hard.  This message can be translated into trying to become a published author, in that the writer tries time and again to get their book published to no avail.  Do you give up? No! You keep trying to create that perfect poem, book, or story until you get it right, thus overcoming your personal mountain.  The engine's chant of "I think I can" turns to the affirmative as it reaches the mountaintop.  This is the message I like to apply to my writing.  If you think you can become a better writer, you will succeed when you believe in yourself!
What would you tell a writer like yourself, struggling to get published?
Don't give up!  There are a lot of highs and lows in a writing career.  Concentrate on the highs to help get you through hard times, and never stop writing!  Your time will come! You have to market yourself to people so they know who you are and can recognize your work. You may have to accept lower paying jobs along the way, writing about things you may find uninteresting, but you're gaining exposure and experience.  Those are invaluable resources!  Each experience brings with it a lesson to be learned. Writers are always learning and improving themselves as part of the writing process.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Low Tire: How Writing Fits Into Your Everyday Life

This morning, as I was cleaning up my flower garden, I noticed something else.

My back tire on the driver's side is low.
Photo by: Michael Kappel, courtesy of Flickr

Now, for any of you who know me, I know how to fill the gas tank and wash the car when it gets dirty. I don't fill the oil and I don't fill the tires. No, I don't change them either.

And so I'm thinking to myself, "I've got to go to the nearest gas station and fill up that tire before it gets any lower."

My husband showed me how to use the tire gage a few times, but I could never figure it out.

I could go over to the gas station and fill up the tire until it "looks right." Does anyone do that?

Or I could drive on it like it is; I have two short trips today, nothing else, and hope that the tire stays inflated.

What would you do?

Yes, I could ask for help and look like an idiot. Anyway, who is going to help me fill up a tire when it's so easy, right?

Sometimes, my life seems a bit low when it comes to writing, too. I just don't know what to work on next. I may not even know if what I'm currently working on is the right thing.

Life is just too busy to think about it. And then there's the low tires that you hadn't planned on.

But a writer still needs to keep writing, you know? Low tire, or not. And so I'll figure it out. Just like I do with writing and publishing and marketing.

Wish me luck.

Monday, September 23, 2013


Time for another author interview!

This time around, what does a writer write when he decides he's finally ready to write fiction? How does Ken find time to write when he's also working full-time?

Top Ten Most Influential Christians Since the Apostles
Top Ten Most Influential Christians Since the Apostles
Second Editon by Ken Lambert and Abby Matzke

1. Tell me about yourself. What got you started in writing?

I have worked primarily in the construction and real estate fields, and I have always been active in my local church. I have always enjoyed both research and writing.  I have tried some fiction writings, but all my published works have been nonfiction. This matches my reading trends; I typically do not read fiction.  As far as getting published, it began with me writing a foreword in a book on home inspections, for a small trade publisher.

2. How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or do you prefer writing freehand?   

I write on my computer desktop, in my living room.  Usually after my boys go to bed, or otherwise when I have some peace and quiet.

3. What's your favorite part about writing? 
Coming up with new ideas about a book or a column, etc.  And the initial stages of thinking about that and the early research.   
Your least favorite part about writing?  
The redrafts and the editing.

4. What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?  
Mostly via the Internet.  Emails, blogs, LinkedIn, a little on FaceBook.  I also have done a few blogtalkradio shows and the like.  I have not done much in the way of book signings.

5. How do you schedule your writing time?
It is tough, with a young family.  Plus my wife and I both work.  Usually I have to “fit it in” at times.  I think about subject while I’m commuting, and then will piecemeal a column together when I can.   
When do you write? 
I probably write about once every 2 weeks.

6. What are you currently working on?   
I write ongoing columns for,, and now for the monthly newsletter of a national political party.  
Do you have a new book out?   
No, not now.  I’ve been focusing on articles and columns since my Church History book came out about 1 ½ years ago.

7. Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.   
I do-its my first venture in a long time into fiction.  It is a historical/ Biblical fiction and takes place in the era of Noah in the O.T.  But I haven’t even written the entire synopsis yet.  I’m hoping to maybe find a co-author for it.

8. What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?  
You have to start somewhere.  I would join some local writers group and try your talent there first.  Build up to publishing.  Getting paid to write is very difficult; many good writers have to write without getting paid for it, unfortunately.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Say What?

What you say in your writing reflects not only the character's thoughts but the tone of your book. And since I am having one of those "say what?" mornings in my personal life I thought I'd tackle the subject of tone.

Tone is more than the words you use. It's the speed with which they come across the paper. It's the way in which you express them.

Photo by: paloetic, courtesy of Flickr

For example, you could say:

"He was a jerk. A real loser. It was like he lived inside a bubble or something."

"Tom was self-centered. Sometimes, well, quite often actually, he'd be so fired up about his own life that he couldn't see past it to anyone else's."

"She didn't think Tom knew what to do. He must have had a million things on one itty bitty plate. It was almost as if it was hard for him to put one foot in front of the other."

In the first instance, I hope you feel the anger from the person looking in on Tom.

In the second example, there is a bit more opening up from the person watching.

In the third example, we are looking directly at Tom, and for the first time may finally see why he appears self-centered and a jerk.

Check your tone. Does it reflect the scene? Does it reflect the character? Does it reflect how others see the character, or is the tone too harsh or too soft?

I have a scene in my latest book that may strike some readers as over the top, and perhaps a little harsh. The main character, after trying to make something work, gets angry, so angry she destroys personal property. But I think it works. You can't be afraid for your main character to fly off the handle just because you feel as if a 40 year old wouldn't do that. You can't be afraid to express it when it needs to be expressed. When the anger needs to come out, there should be little holding back, especially if the character really needs to get it out. 

And only you know when that needs to happen.

Read your work out loud if you have to. Get someone else to read it. Make sure the tone fits the scene as well as the character within the scene.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Book Titles

I was talking to an author this past weekend, and she was sharing with me how she hated to come up with titles.

"I can write the whole book but coming up with a title is another story."

For me, titles are kind of like the icing on the cake, the spring thaw, that last minute visit from a friend you haven't seen in five years.

And for me, titles come at different times.

I may get a title during the writing of my book. Often, it's a catchy phrase that I've written down that strikes me as something worthy of a title.

At other times I get the title before I begin the book. It's almost like the book is saying, "See, here's a great title, now get the book written!"

Book titles, at least for me, are rarely a struggle. I just get them.

For my first book I was watching Oprah. The answer came while I was well into writing the book.
For my second and third books, my husband nudged me with the ideas to get me started.
For my fourth book, I was taking a writing class in college and discovered I had a superb first chapter. The title came later.
For my fifth book, again, my husband said, "Don't you think you need to organize your marketing into a book?" The title came early on.
My sixth book title came after my husband said, "I think the story of Virginia needs to continue," and The Feast was born.

Having trouble with your book title?

Don't stress. Just write your book. At some time during the writing, either before or during or after, you'll have the perfect title for your book.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

When Doubt Strikes in Writing

Sometimes, even after we've published, we find ourselves doubting our own abilities.

Sure, I've published a book, but maybe it was a fluke.
What if I don't have another book in me?
What if the

I have had a somewhat doubting week, yes, even after the fantastic conference.

And I think we all do that.

There are so many writers, so many ideas that may contradict what you have learned what you've come to know, that you may find yourself scrambling for the truth.

Doubt is the opposite of truth. So is fear.

And I can't help but think that we often shut ourselves down because the other option is too scary.

Will I have to speak to large groups now that I've published?
Will readers expect my next book to be as good, or better?
Will I have to actually market?

My new book coming out Sept. 30
Yes, yes, and yes.

If the truth be known, and this is the truth at least for me; I am always learning. Just because I've published doesn't mean I won't learn something new, or change what I am currently doing to make it better. The truth is, I don't want to live in doubt, and the best way I know not to live there, is to continue to move forward.

An easy task?

Not usually.

How much to do you want it?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Interviews For Emerging Authors

At the League of Utah Writer's conference this past week, I meet a few writers, who, when I asked if they'd like to be interviewed on my site responded that they weren't published yet.

Photo by: ed_needs_a_bicycle, courtesy of Flickr
And it got me to thinking.

What makes a writer keep writing when he/she hasn't yet published?
What does their writing day look like, and what sorts of things do they do to study the craft?
Did they have a goal for when they'd like to put out their first query or first manuscript?
Had they decided if they wanted to self-publish or go the traditional route?

And it made me think of something else.

Interviews for the emerging author.

And so, here's what I'm going to do. Every Wednesday, I'd like to post an emerging author interview. The questions will be similar to the ones above. I will have the writer include a photo of themselves and their favorite book (in place of their not yet published book).

One of the best ways to learn about writing is to read books (especially in the genre we will be publishing in one day) and I think it will be fun to see what books you emerging authors have chosen.

So, here goes!

Write me at Let me know what you write, and we'll go from there.


Monday, September 16, 2013


Another great interview!

Gordon speaks about what he does for the elderly who are home bound, and why he decided to write about "little known" folks in the Bible. He also shares his love for poetry and family biographies.

1. Tell me a about yourself. What got you started in writing?

I’m a retired rehabilitation psychologist, now aged 89.  In my professional life I’ve often had the privilege of working at jobs that had no predecessor or job description, in vocational rehabilitation, special education, vocational education, and community resource development for people with disabilities, and most recently in writing software to assist elderly people to remain longer in their homes.  I did a great deal of professional and technical writing in the course of my employment, so continuing to write in “retirement” came naturally.  I had already drafted reports of travel and of my WW II experiences, so when self-publishing came on the scene I was ready.  The first book came about when I was lying awake thinking about Shamgar, the judge in the Bible who “slew six hundred Philistines with an ox goad” and who had been given only two sentences.  So I got up and wrote his memoir.  That led to memoirs of all the other characters in the Book of Judges, which led to additional books.

2. How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or do you prefer writing freehand?

I write at a desktop computer.  Since I now live alone, I can and do write at any odd hour.  It has been many years since my handwriting was good enough to compose in that way, and the ability to edit in a word processor is essential.  No doubt it would be good to follow a discipline of regular hours for writing, but that seems not to work for me.

3. What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?

When the words are flowing as fast as I can type, that’s my favorite part of writing.  Thinking ahead when not at the keyboard is also satisfying.  There is that point between awake and asleep when visions come.  That’s for fiction.  When writing against a broad and detailed historical backscreen, then I revel in my many years of reading and acquiring background.  The least favorite part, almost naturally, is the copy editing and spell checking that the word processor can’t do. 

4. How do you come up with your characters? Why would readers want to get to know them?

When my characters are fictional, I try to visualize them against not only the plot situation, but also against the historical and cultural milieu in which they are embedded.  An example is the Prophet Samuel.  I saw him as a disinterested but fully involved person, of considerable intellect but also deep faith (not unquestioning, but committed) who was a bit pedantic, a man who thought about situations before acting, living in a culture which was coming into formation (and with him doing a significant part of the forming) and which had simple life styles and customs that he would go beyond if necessary.  I saw him as quite human and vulnerable – and who would not want to know him?  When my characters are actual people, I try to see them as a counselor (my trade) would see a client, trying to be faithful to actual behaviors and events and with an understanding of why people are the way they are.  All this, of course, has to be translated to the non-clinical reader in a narrative that exploits this rounded understanding but does not dwell on explaining the person who is revealed.

5. What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?

Since I have no expectation of earning a living by writing, now that I am retired, my marketing has been largely limited to word of mouth and gifts of books to those in my wide circle who are known to be interested in the subject or style of one of my nine books.  But the unexpected does sometimes happen; I found on the Net my book of WWII experiences on the after-market in Australia offered at three times its usual price!

6. How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?

I don’t schedule my writing time, but go with what is urgent within me at the time.  This leads to very irregular hours.

7. What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?

Last month I printed my biographies of my Scandinavian immigrant parents, and have begun a similar book on the parents of my first wife.

8. Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.

Begun some few years ago, and added to from time to time, is a book of poetry.  The poems are of several different kinds, from the lyrical (“The Voice”) to the epic (“The Saga of Saint Ingvar”).  At the present rate I will probably never finish it.  It has lately been spurred by my winning the local city’s poetry contest.

9. What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?

Bearing in mind that the person may or may not have talent, I tend to say something like, “A lot of writing can be done for personal satisfaction.  But writing turns out to be an economically successful career for only a few who try it.  You will only know whether you have the talent to achieve more than self satisfaction by trying to write.  You may not be satisfied by your own work at first, but remember that you may be too hard on yourself or you may be too easy.  Write something, put it into a form that is easy to read, and ask someone – me, for example – to tell you how it reads.  If you have something to say, write it and see whether you get your point across to some other people. [If they live in our apartment building, I recommend coming to our Scribblers group and taking part.]  Then see where it leads you.”

My books are available from, all in paperback and some in ebooks.
All are available from me at: OR by phone: 952-881-0449. They can also be found by Googling the titles or my name (with the middle initial, Gordon C. Krantz). All books are in standard paperback format and range from 125 to 275 pages. 

The titles are:
Judges, Rulers and One Angry Levite: Historical fiction; the fictional memoirs of the characters mentioned in the Bible’s Book of Judges.

Samuel, Seer:
Historical fiction; the fictional “autobiography” of the Seer and Prophet Samuel.

The Times of the Judges: The history of the Israelites and their neighbors during the times of the Judges, roughly 1250 BC to 1000 BC, a time of great turmoil in the eastern Mediterranean; with maps.

What Happened Between the Testaments: A history of the area of Judah during the time between the Old Testament (last book of the OT was written about 430 BC) and the events of the New Testament (1 BC); straight history with maps and with fictional vignettes that enliven the story.
Dig that Street!: Narrative with many pictorial illustrations of author’s (with wife Ruth, co-author) 1996 volunteer archaeology beside the Temple Mount in debris of the Temple’s AD 70 destruction in Jerusalem, and tours of Israel, Jordan, Sinai and Cairo.
Greece Freewheeling:
Narrative with many pictorial illustrations of the author’s independent tour of mainland Greece and of Santorini and Crete, by car, ferry, air and moped.

Ordinary GI: An account of the author’s experience as a soldier in World War II; of interest primarily to family members and those who are interested in the war.  It is the non-heroic saga of an ordinary soldier.  Historical and military museums have requested and have been given it.

What Did You do for a Living, Daddy? The author’s working life; of interest primarily to family members and to those who are interested in the development of rehabilitation psychology in the second half of the 20th Century.
Claus and Christine: biographies of the author’s immigrant parents, from Sweden and Norway in 1901 and 1902, and their life in America. Of interest mainly to the immediate family, but others may be interested in the Scandinavian origins and the immigrant experience.  Emigrant museums in Scandinavia have requested and received it.